Sep 10, 2021
In this weeks episode Razib sits down with Maximillian Larena of Upsala Universities evolutionary biology department to discuss the peopling of the Philippines via five proposed population pulses and introgression events beginning with the earliest Australasian expansion of the Philippine Negritos and subsequent migratory waves by the Manobo, Sama, and Cordilleran related populations.
Max discusses how dispersal models are complicated by the geographic history of the Philippines, which is located on the periphery of the submerged subcontinent of Sundaland, and how sea-level changes may have created complex multidirectional migratory pulses which may not have occurred as a single event but rather a series of more prolonged diffusions.
The Negrito populations in particular demonstrate deep divergences, on the order of 46,000 years from other Australasian populations such as the Australian Aboriginals and the Papuans, possibly from a common ancestor living in Sundaland some 50,000 years ago.
Perhaps most interestingly the Philippines Ayta Negrito people have been found to have the highest percentage of Denisovan DNA in the world – Max and Razib discuss some of the nuances of teasing out statistical relations, including the difficulties of cutting through the Neanderthal signature to determine exactly what introgression event occurred since Neanderthals often carry Denisovan DNA.
The podcast concludes with a brief discussion of the non-Sapien hominids in the Philippines and the exciting possibilities that ancient DNA offers for future studies in the area.